Root sauna

Nature’s own joint gets the prime spot in this modern smoke sauna.

Traditional Finnish smoke sauna, in a new form that fits a modern office space. This was practically the starting point for the cooperation of Woodartist and the video game company Supercell – and the only brief for Miikka to start designing the sauna interior for the new office facilities of Supercell in the Wood City wooden quarter in Helsinki.

Miikka generated many initial ideas, but one idea didn’t leave him alone. A mystic, underground part of a tree and nature’s own strong joint that deserved some publicity – the root of a spruce tree. When it grows in the soil, the root reaches sideways and forms a natural angle that will actually be a part of the seat structure of this unique, most likely world’s only root sauna. So the bather literally sits ON the root curve, and no additional joints are needed to make the bench. In the old days, this joint was used for instance in roof structures.

However, we didn’t want to cut trees just for the roots, so we came up a more ecological way of sourcing the roots. In Finland, spruce trees often fall on the borders of newly-cut forest areas, when the trees that are left are not used to the wind load. The wind-felled logs can sometimes be used in the wood industry, but in most cases they are burnt for energy.

We then utilised our social media and media coverage to ask for tips on where to find these storm-felled spruce trees. Eventually we got enough roots only from our region, so the seating will be built from roots that once grew in Rääkkylä, Kontiolahti, Kitee and Joensuu. We selected the roots whose shape would fit our purpose already in the forest.

By now, the roots have been cleaned and pre-sawn in the forest, hauled to our workshop, washed, sawn again, dried, planed, sawn once more, sanded and made into the bench shape. In addition to the roots, the smoke sauna spirit and earthy feeling in the sauna will be created with natural stone and a water element. This is all we say about this project at this point – but we will surely keep you posted!

Design: Miikka Kotilainen | Woodartist
Woodwork: Woodartist
Photos: Mikko Jormakka